Friday, May 27, 2022

REVIEW: 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' - Obi-Wan's Pursuits of a Monotonous Life in Hiding Are Disrupted by Dangerous Threats in 'Part I'

Disney+'s Obi-Wan Kenobi - Episode 1.01 "Part I"

When agents of the Empire pose a new threat, Obi-Wan Kenobi emerges after years of hiding.

"Part I" was directed by Deborah Chow with story by Stuart Beattie & Hossein Amini and teleplay by Joby Harold, Hossein Amini & Stuart Beattie

Obi-Wan Kenobi killed his padawan, Anakin Skywalker. The Jedi still lost the war. The Galactic Empire rose. The Jedi were wiped out. A decade later, the few remaining are being hunted down. Obi-Wan has carried the responsibility of looking over Luke. He's been charged with the mission of protecting who might be the next Chosen One to rise up and save the galaxy. The Skywalker journey has already been well documented throughout the feature films. Luke's story has been told in its entirety. This drama has so many connections to the mythology already. As such, it's very tempting to play into those teases. However, it must stand out as its own unique story. Of course, it's also burdened by starting on Tatooine once more. That planet has been central to so many stories in this world. That makes it somewhat impossible for any creative team to find a new way to frame their narrative around it. It's central to the overall mythology. However, this is a vast universe full of engaging stories worth telling. It would be disappointing if this show just wanted to focus on Obi-Wan looking after Luke from afar. That's the role he essentially serves in this premiere. That's his entire mission. He can't be tempted away because of the Jedi code to help anyone in need. He certainly feels that impulse. He wants to repress it as best he can. The past never stays buried for long. He remains haunted every night by the events that led to Anakin's turn to the Dark Side. His padawan isn't dead either. He has become Darth Vader. His presence looms over the proceedings because of the importance Luke and Leia have. They are his children. Their potential must be protected no matter what. Obi-Wan assumes that means training Luke in the ways of the force. He remains committed to following the path that led to so many great Jedi before him. That's not the life Owen wants for his adoptive son. In fact, he wants Obi-Wan to stop interfering with their lives because it only threatens more exposure. Inquisitors come to the planet looking for Jedi. One even singles Owen out for knowing where a Jedi is. He has this personal connection to Obi-Wan. He won't expose him out of self-preservation. He must do what is right for his family. Everyone can understand that impulse. However, his family isn't the only one in danger. The Organas are as well. That's the way into the overall story. That's the journey that will ultimately take Obi-Wan away from Tatooine. He's still destined to return to this planet. His attempts at a new identity as Ben Kenobi aren't quite fulfilled yet. It's very much on the horizon. Obi-Wan simply can't run away from his past. He always knows exactly where his lightsaber is buried.

Of course, the Organa family is targeted because of their connection to Obi-Wan. The Third Sister is the most ruthless and ambitious of the Inquisitors. She doesn't have the patience seemingly necessary to hunt down the Jedi. That's not the tactic she is willing to embrace. Instead, she will attempt to kill in order to see who responds. A Jedi cannot avoid that temptation. They must work to save lives whenever they can. One ultimately does expose himself. He runs. He came to Tatooine hoping to find Obi-Wan. Together, they can find refuge and hope that the Jedi Order can be rebuilt. That's not what Obi-Wan aspires to do. The Jedi are gone. It's pointless to pursue those endeavors anymore. Now, it's all about personal responsibility. The remaining Jedi simply have to do whatever it takes to stay alive. They can no longer embrace their most basic impulses. All of their training must go away. But again, temptation is always present. It takes a personal plea from Bail Organa in order for Obi-Wan to embrace what he once was. That's the person Bail needs right now. Leia has been taken. Her life was mapped out. In this family, she is expected to become a Senator. She will lead with greatness because she recognizes just how consequential this power is. She pushes back against the limitations in the world set up to confine her. She's still a girl. She's vulnerable to a world eager to exploit her. She can't escape. She isn't targeted because of her connection to Darth Vader. That's not why she was taken. The Third Sister orchestrated this kidnapping in order to lure Obi-Wan out of hiding. She was so close and didn't know it. Killing him is what she wants more than anything else. The other Inquisitors tell her to stop chasing that impossible dream. She still seeks out that glory. She puts these huge plots into motion to see what happens. She understands how people will respond. She's dangerous. However, she's accurate in expecting what ultimately results. She's not monitoring Bail to see if he will lead her to Obi-Wan. Instead, she's simply waiting for him to reveal himself. Those who took Leia made themselves somewhat detectable to set the trap. Obi-Wan must fall into it because he has a greater duty to protect the universe. He must save the children he pledged his life to. It has to be about more than just Luke. He must uphold this duty. Otherwise, he truly will fall into the despair and be incapable of providing the guidance the resistance will need when the time comes for it. The world is being oppressed by the Empire. Obi-Wan can no longer act on that grand scale to make a massive difference. He can save Leia though. That's the mission he must take on even though it means running against the threats that wish to kill him simply for who he is.